The Hermitage Saga Turns Tragic As Fund Lawyer Dies In Jail

Tyler Durden's picture

The saga of Hermitage Capital, whose clip highlighting its recent plight we posted previously, has just taken a turn for the sad and surreal. The WSJ reports that 37 year old Sergei Magnitsky, Hermitage's lawyer has died in custody. As a reminder Sergei was arrested in November of 2008: "Sergei Magnitsky, a legal and accounting adviser for Moscow-based
law firm Firestone Duncan, was detained Monday [November 24th] after a raid on his home
and police issued a formal warrant for his arrest two days later, said
Bill Browder, chief executive officer of Hermitage Capital Management."

Reports the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Magnitsky, a 37-year-old partner at Moscow firm Firestone
Duncan, was jailed nearly a year ago on charges of tax evasion related
to his work for Hermitage. At a court hearing on extending his
detention in September, he complained that he had been denied medical
treatment for weeks for serious stomach pancreatic illnesses that he
hadn't suffered from before his imprisonment. He also complained of
inhumane conditions -- including the absence of toilet, hot water and
windows -- at the Butyrskaya jail where he was then being held.

"They held him for 11 months, asking him to fabricate testimony
against Hermitage," said Jamison Firestone, managing partner of
Firestone Duncan. "The more he refused, the worse his conditions
became."

If convicted of tax fraud, Mr. Magnitsky would have faced up to six
years in prison. Russian officials have denied pressuring Mr. Magnitsky
for testimony.

Irina Dudukina, spokeswoman for the Investigative Committee of Russia's Interior Ministry said Tuesday, stated more information would be forthcoming shortly. In other news, emerging markets are, once again, all the rage. For those who can't wait to see the opportunity cost of the investment climate in Russia, here is a snapshot of the prison which was Mr. Magnitsky's final resting place.